Simply put, Numero's brilliant Dimona anthology is the music of the Black Hebrew movement that is settled -- and officially recognized -- in the Dimona desert of Israel. While this description may suggest a CD of field recordings, nothing could be further from the truth. These 16 tracks document the recordings of the Soul Messengers, the Spirit of Israel, the Tonistics and Sons of the Kingdom. The origins of this music evolve with three soul musicians from Chicago who were part of the Windy City's burgeoning R&B and blues scenes: Charles "Hezekiah" Blackwell, Thomas "Yehudah" Whitfield (a member of the Metronomes/the Pharoahs), and John "Shevat" Boyd . The story in the liner notes is more than fascinating; it's riveting, and it's also too long to go into here. Suffice to say that these 16 sides reflect some of the very best hardcore soul, funk, and spiritual jazz-funk to have been made by a group of multinationals. Soul Messages from Dimona was recorded between 1975 and 1978, though much of it had its roots as early as the '60s. The lyrics here are spiritual, positive, and yes sometimes religious, but they are rooted in such killer sounds that even if you are not one to get with the philosophy, the music itself will simply move you beyond that .While the music is drenched in spirituality, none of it is militant, it is rousing, uplifting and full of deep grooves, funky breaks, amazing vocals, and great writing and arranging. Check the Tonistics' (the Black Hebrew version of the Jackson 5) popping soul groover "Dimona (Spiritual Capital of the World)," or the burning, hard edged jazz-funk of the Soul Messengers' "Heaven of Heroes," and the Soul Messengers & the Spirits of Israel (the latter comprised of the founders' wives, all of whom had sung in gospel groups back in Chicago) on "Burn Devil Burn" which opens the set. On this latter tune, with swirling organ, a huge low-tuned bassline, and wah-wah guitar with a full-blown horn section, one can hear Fela but also the influence of the great urban gospel choirs of Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, War, and the spooky grooves of Santana and Mandrill, although these groups unlike any of them. The J.B.'s styled horns of "Our Lord and Savior," also touch on the faster moments in Bob Marley's early reggae and the soaring vocals of LaBelle before kicking into a rewritten version of Steam's "Na Na Na (Kiss Him Goodbye)" with all Hebrew lyrics! Yes, most songs are sung in English. Then there's the funky, dubby reggae-gospel of "Daniel," a rewriting of the classic spiritual. The quality of the music here here is so high (and for the most part beautifully recorded), one cannot envy Numero having to top this collection. These cats continue to surprise us, but this is more of a shock to the system. This is in the label's top two or three releases and thus far, the compilation to beat in 2008.